The Mergermarket Group has published its Monthly M&A Insider – April 2015 report outlining trends and developments in M&A activity worldwide for the first quarter of 2015.

In North America, M&A activity continued on the upward trend set in 2014. The first quarter saw 1,116 deals valued at US $338.8 billion, which was a 11% increase compared to the first quarter of 2014. This increase was in no small part driven by the Heinz/Kraft deal, valued at $54.4 billion. The Pharmaceutical, Medical and Biotech industry was also a significant driver in the first quarter of 2015, which saw 122 deals worth $78.4 billion, compared to 142 deals valued at $47.6 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

The Energy, Mining and Utilities sector faced a sharp decline, in large part due to declining oil prices. Total deal value in this sector dropped over 50% compared to the previous three quarters in 2014, although Mergermarket reports that total deal value has increased 66% when compared to the first quarter of 2014, suggesting that M&A activity in the oil and gas sector has some room for growth.

Private equity buyouts also continue to decline in North America, as they have across the globe. Exits are down more than 15% compared to every other quarter since the second quarter of 2013.

Overall, despite the decline in M&A activity compared to recent quarters, Mergermarket reports that 2015 is off to a “healthy start” and activity in the Technology sector is expected to continue on a trend of a strong year of M&A transactions.

The author would like to thank James Foy, articling student, for his assistance in preparing this legal update.

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